Welcome to Nazarene Israel. My name is Norman Willis. And today I want to show you about a mystery called the Two Houses of Israel.
Have you ever wondered why the Apostle Yaakov (or James) wrote his epistle not to the Christians, but to the twelve tribes of Israel, who are scattered abroad?
And have you ever wondered why, in Revelation chapter 7, we read that the twelve tribes of Israel are sealed from harm, but we are never told of any Christians being sealed from harm?
Further, when New Jerusalem comes down from the heavens in Revelation chapter 21, why are there no gates for Christians, but only gates for the twelve tribes of Israel?
Further, why did the Messiah Yeshua (whom some call Jesus Christ) say He was not sent but for the lost sheep of the house of Israel? Who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel? And why did He come only for them?
There are many mysteries in Scripture, and once we understand the Mystery of the Two Houses, then we can understand Bible prophecy like never before.
To explain this mystery, we need to dig into some detail, and this can take some effort, but this effort is well worth it, because once we understand the course of events in Scripture, then the prophecies unfold before us clearly, and we can understand the flow of Bible prophecy with a clarity that is not possible to achieve in any other way.
So please join us now for the Mystery of the Two Houses.
To begin unraveling the mystery of the Two Houses of Israel, let’s understand that in the Bible, the Creator Yahweh (or Jehovah) gave special promises to the Patriarch Abraham (or Avraham). The Bible says that these special promises were given to Avraham and his descendants (or as the Bible puts it, to his seed). This is because Avraham obeyed Yahweh’s voice.
This tells us that obedience to Yahweh’s commandments is important.
In Genesis 22:17, Yahweh tells Avraham,
17 “Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants [seed] as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore;
and your descendants [seed] shall possess the gate of their enemies.
18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
Yahweh then repeated these blessings to Avraham’s son Isaac, telling Isaac that the reason he and his seed would be blessed was because Avraham had obeyed His voice, and kept His charge, His statutes, and His laws. In other words, Yahweh blessed Avraham because he was obedient.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 26:4
4 “And I will make your descendants [seed] multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands [the land of Israel]; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;
5 because Avraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Yahweh also gave these same promises to Avraham’s grandson Jacob (or Israel). Although it might seem difficult to understand, in Genesis 28, Yahweh promised Israel that one day, every family on earth (including you and I) would have some of his genetics-and that one day, Yahweh would call a remnant of his descendants to come back to the covenant, and back to the land of Israel.
Now there is a special two-part promise here, that many Jews and Christians miss. We discuss it in more detail in the Nazarene Israel study, but if we read this very carefully, what we will see is that Yahweh gives His promise first to Israel (meaning to his genetic descendants), and then also to his Seed (which we will see refers to the Messiah). Let’s read it carefully.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 28:13-15
13 And behold, Yahweh stood above it and said: “I am Yahweh, Elohim [God] of Avraham your father and the Elohim of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants [seed].
14 Also your descendants [seed] shall be as the dust of the earth; you [your descendants] shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your Seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you [your descendants] back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
In Galatians 3:16, the Apostle Shaul (Paul) tells that the reference to Israel’s Seed is a reference to the Messiah, but notice how there is also a genetic promise. In verse 14, the promise was that all the families of the earth would be blessed both in Israel (genetically), and in His Seed (Messiah). Yet it is Israel’s physical children who are prophesied to spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south, and one day come back home to the land of Israel.
On the one hand, the Orthodox Jews understand the promises given to the physical descendants of Israel, to return home to the land of Israel. On the other hand, the Christians understand the promise given to those who accept the Good Seed (Messiah Yeshua) as their personal Savior and King. Yet to grasp the fullness of this promise, we need to realize both parts.
As we follow the Bible story, Avraham begat Isaac, and Isaac then begat Jacob, who was later called Israel. In turn, Israel had 12 sons. And at least originally, all 12 of these sons together were considered part of Israel’s house, or what Scripture calls, “the house of Israel”. But we need to understand this term clearly, because the definition of this term “house of Israel” will change (and that’s part of why the mystery has been sealed up for the past 2,730 years). So let us keep following the story, to learn the prophetic significance attached to two special sons of Israel, Judah, and Joseph.
Judah was Israel’s fourth son, and Judah’s children were called the Jews. So at least spiritually, the Jews of today descend from the patriarch Judah. But two other tribes later became attached to Judah, (namely Benjamin and Levi), and together, these would later be called the “house of Judah.”
(Now, someone will ask about the Khazars, and that is a very involved question. The short answer is that there are secretly two “houses of Judah” in the prophecies. We will talk about the Khazars in other places, but for right now we want to stay focused on the basics.)
Israel’s 11th son was named Joseph. And as we will see, Joseph was the spiritual father of both the Christians, and the Nazarenes. And if you don’t know the difference between Christians and Nazarenes, do yourself a favor, and watch the first video in this series right now, because that difference of understanding is critical, and we will come back to it time and again. We will put a link below, so you can find it more easily.
One of the things we need to know about Joseph is that Joseph was Israel’s favorite son, and Israel famously gave Joseph a long coat. Most Bible translations call it “a coat of many colors”, but in the Hebrew, what it says is that Israel gave Joseph a “ketonet pasim” (כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים), which is a long tunic reaching the sole of the foot, similar to a bridal gown. Such long coats were only worn by the rich, or by royalty, because manual laborers could not wear a long tunic like that, or it would get destroyed in the fields. Because of this, Joseph’s other brothers were jealous, and hated Joseph. And because of their bitter envy, they sold Joseph down into slavery in Egypt, and faked his death to their Father.
One of the things we need to know about Joseph is that Joseph was Israel’s favorite son, and Israel famously gave Joseph a long coat. Most Bible translations call it “a coat of many colors”, but in the Hebrew, what it says is that Israel gave Joseph “ketonet pasim” (כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים), which is a long tunic reaching the sole of the foot, similar to a bridal gown. Such long coats were only worn by the rich, or by royalty, because manual laborers could not wear a long tunic like that, or it would get destroyed in the fields. Because of this, Joseph’s other brothers were jealous, and hated Joseph. And because of their bitter envy, they sold Joseph down into slavery in Egypt, and faked his death to their Father.
Yet Yahweh had a plan for Joseph.
While in Egypt, Joseph was made the second in command over all of Egypt, second only to Paroh (or Pharaoh). And while serving as the second in command of Egypt, Joseph married the daughter of an Egyptian high priest, and had two sons by her. The first son’s name was Manasseh, and the second son’s name was Ephraim. Together, these two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim formed Joseph’s house (or what Scripture calls, the house of Joseph).
It is highly significant that Joseph’s two sons are half-Egyptian, and that their mother was the daughter of a pagan high priest, because this determines their spiritual predispositions. We will come back to that fact that later, but for now, just remember that Ephraim and Manasseh are half-breeds.
In Genesis chapter 48, Israel famously prophesied that Joseph’s son Ephraim’s descendants would become greater than those of Manasseh’s. And there is some very special language hidden in the Hebrew of Genesis 48:16. In most translations, Israel blesses Ephraim and Manasseh’s children, saying “Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth”, meaning they would become many among the gentile nations.
But what it says in the Hebrew is,
וְיִדְגּ֥וּ לָרֹ֖ב בְּקֶ֥רֶב הָאָֽרֶץ
meaning, “let them teem like a multitude of fishes in the midst of the earth”.
If we have eyes to see, this reference to teeming like a multitude of fishes in the midst of the earth is a reference to the Christians. The Christians are indeed many, and they are among the gentiles, and it is the Christians who use the fish as their symbol. But why do they use the fish as their symbol? Is it commanded anywhere?
In other studies we will see that the fish was the symbol of the Philistine Fish God Dagon (which makes the fish a pagan symbol, which means it is unclean, and should not be used). The reason the Christians use it is that it they do not realize their identities as Israelites, and so they do not realize that the commandments for the children of Israel not to use the images of pagan gods applies to them also.
In other videos we will also see how this prophecy ties into Yeshua’s command that we should become “fishers of men”. For those with ears to hear, this is what is called in Hebrew a remez (רֶמֶז), or a hint, that Yeshua’s disciples should fish for the lost tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who are dwelling like a multitude of fish in the midst of earth. And if you want to know more about that, please read the Nazarene Israel study.
So what we want to know is, who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel that Yeshua came for. To understand the answer to that, we need to look at a long progression of terms. It gets a little complicated, and this is at least part of how the mystery got sealed up, so we need to study it carefully.
The term house of Joseph is used as early as Joshua 17:17, where it refers to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh together.
Yehoshua (Joshua) 17:17
17 And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph-to Ephraim and Manasseh-saying, “You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot [or one portion in the land]…”
We do not have time to go into all the details here, but in the Nazarene Israel study, we show that the United Kingdom and the United States have historically played key roles in spreading the faith. We show how the United Kingdom fulfills the prophetic role of the tribe of Manasseh, who was the older of Joseph’s two sons, and who was spreading the faith in Messiah before Ephraim. We also show how the United States fulfills the prophetic role of the tribe of Ephraim, who was the younger son that went on to become the greater. And the Christian United Kingdom and the Christian United States clearly seem as if they have more than the average lot worldwide. This is because Yahweh has blessed them for studying and spreading His Son’s Good News.
Then, in Judges 10:9, we begin to see Ephraim take the lead among the ten northern tribes. The people of Ammon (which is in modern-day Jordan) attacked the tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south (and both of those tribes would later be part of what is called the southern house of Judah). But they also attacked the other ten tribes in the north, which were called the house of Ephraim, showing how Joseph’s son Ephraim began to take the lead among the ten tribes in the north.
Shophetim (Judges) 10:9
9 Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah, also against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that [all] Israel was severely distressed.
From now on, the term house of Ephraim will refer to all ten of the northern tribes.
Next, in 2 Samuel 2:4, we see that the tribe of Judah in the south begins to be referred to as the house of Judah even though the tribes of Benjamin and Levi are not yet attached to it (meaning the “house” of Judah still only consists of one tribe at this point).
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 2:4a
4a Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
It can be difficult to keep track of all the name changes, but it is important to do so, because there is meaning to the changes-and now we will see a most interesting change that will change the course of prophecy. Ten chapters later, in 2 Samuel 12:8, Yahweh calls the ten northern tribes of the house of Ephraim “the house of Israel.” In this verse, Yahweh is speaking to King David (of the house of Judah) after he had murdered Bathsheba’s husband.
Shemuel Bet (2 Samuel) 12:8
8 “I gave you [David] your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the [northern] house of Israel and [the house of] Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!”
Now it is critical to see this, because originally the term house of Israel referred to all 12 of the tribes, whereas now Yahweh uses it only toward the northern ten tribes.
The reason Yahweh called the ten northern tribes the house of Israel is that He planned to join a portion of the southern kingdom of Judah to them, so that the term, house of Israel would once again refer to all twelve tribes. There is more to say about that than we have time to explain here, but to see the basics, let us consider how the northern house of Israel got taken into physical and spiritual captivity, and how a remnant of the southern house of Judah got taken into captivity along with them.
In First Kings chapters 11 and 12, we read about the formal split that took place in the nation of Israel, between the two houses. The reason for the split was that the northern ten tribes were not keeping the Torah correctly. The northern house of Ephraim (or Israel) was calling on the name of the Elohim (God) of Avraham, but they were not obeying His laws, or keeping His ways, just like their descendants (the Christians) would later do.
One of the basic principles of Scripture is that living beings reproduce after their own kinds, such as we read in Genesis 1:11, where Elohim said to let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And in that light, let us remember that Ephraim was a half-breed child of a very faithful and favored Hebrew father, and the daughter of an Egyptian high priest. With a mix like that, we might expect the Ephraimites to be very spiritual, and favored, but also incorporate the worship pagan deities, just like the Christians who would come later.
However, it was not just the northern kingdom that worshipped foreign deities. The trigger event for the split between the two houses was that King David’s son Solomon took too many foreign wives, and these foreign wives did not convert to the worship of Yahweh. Rather, King Solomon’s foreign wives turned his heart away from Yahweh, so that he worshiped their foreign deities instead. Scripture says he clung to these foreign deities in love (and that was the main problem, as Yahweh strictly prohibits the worship of idols).
The punishment for King Solomon’s idolatry was that the nation of Israel would be split into two parts. This would take place in the days of King Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam. After the split took place, from then on there would be two separate kingdoms, one kingdom with ten tribes in the north called the Kingdom of Israel (or the Kingdom of Ephraim, occasionally called Joseph), and another kingdom with two tribes in the south, called the Kingdom of Judah (occasionally called Jacob).
Before the split, in 1 Kings 11:28, we read that King Solomon had an Ephraimite servant named Jeroboam. The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and King Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the slave labor force of the house of Joseph (or Ephraim). Now it happened that when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that he met the prophet Ahiyah the Shilonite on the way; and Ahiyah had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in a field. Then Ahiyah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says Yahweh, the Elohim of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you, (but he shall have one tribe [in addition to Judah] for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth (Easter) the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David. However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you – ten tribes. And to his son I will give one tribe [in addition to Judah, meaning Benjamin], that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.”
After the death of King Solomon, the northern ten tribes called Jeroboam, and the whole assembly came to King Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam, and told him that his father King Solomon had made their yoke heavy. They asked him to lighten the hard service of his father, and then they would serve him. But King Rehoboam refused, even promising to increase their mistreatment. Because of this, the ten northern tribes realized that King Rehoboam did not love them (as King David had), and so they broke away from King Rehoboam and the kingdom of Judah in the south, and formed their own kingdom in the north. And from this point forward, we see the kingdom of Ephraim (or the kingdom of Israel) in the north, and the kingdom of Judah in the south.
But the new king, Jeroboam, had a problem. Yahweh had prophesied through Ahiyah that if Jeroboam would heed all that He commanded him, and walk in His ways, and do what was right in His sight, and keep His statutes and His commandments, as King David did, then Yahweh would be with him, and build for him an enduring house, as He built for David, and He would give Israel to him. Only, the Scriptures call for the people to worship in the place where Yahweh had chosen to place His name, which was Jerusalem.
In 1 Kings 12:27, we see how the new king, Jeroboam, reasoned with himself that if the people did what the Torah said, and went up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the heart of his people would turn back to their original master, King Rehoboam of Judah. Then someone would kill him, and the people would go back to King Rehoboam, of Judah.
Therefore King Jeroboam asked advice as to what he should do to prevent this from happening. The answer was that he had to make a false religion, to change the people’s worship, so they would not want to go up to Jerusalem anymore. Therefore the king made two calves of gold, and he said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”. And he set up one golden calf in Bethel, and the other golden calf he put in Dan, in the north. Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one golden calf as far as Dan, rather than at the temple in Jerusalem.
King Jeroboam also made false places of worship on the high places, and he made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi.
King Jeroboam also ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the original feast of Tabernacles that the house of Judah kept in the seventh month, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. He did this at Bethel, and he sacrificed to the golden calves that he had made.
And at the false altar at Bethel, he also ordained the non-Levitical priesthood, who served in the false places of worship which he had made.
So King Jeroboam made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month (rather than on the 15th day of the seventh month, like the a Torah says), the eighth month being a month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a false calendar for the children of Israel (or Ephraim), and offered sacrifices on the altar, and burned incense.
If we have eyes to see it, point for point, this is an exact prophetic shadow picture of what the Catholic Church would later do. While the Messiah Yeshua and His disciples had kept the original Passover and the original Feast of Tabernacles, the Catholics pushed the date of the Passover back to Easter, and they also pushed the date of the Feast of Tabernacles back to Christmas. The Catholic Church also established a new priesthood, that was not of the sons of Levi. Further, they instituted idol worship in multiple locations (that were not Jerusalem). They also altered the Scriptures to support their new religion, just as Jeroboam did.
In the Nazarene Israel study we talk about how Yahweh sent many prophets to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, to get them to turn back to the Torah. He sent Elijah, and Elisha, and many other prophets to get the ten northern tribes to turn back.
One of the prophets Yahweh sent to the northern kingdom was named Hoshea (Hosea). Hoshea was told to take a harlot for a wife, and to have children of harlotry. This was symbolic of how the children of Israel were committing idolatry (or spiritual adultery) against Him. The names of the children were all prophetic.
In Hoshea 1:2, we see that when Yahweh began to speak by Hoshea, Yahweh said to Hoshea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from Yahweh.” So Hoshea went and took a prostitute by the name of Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then Yahweh said to him: “Call his name Jezre’el (meaning Yahweh will scatter, or sow like seed is sown, since they were Avraham’s seed)…”
And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then Elohim said to him: “Call her name Lo-Ruhamah (meaning No Mercy, or No Compassion), For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away….”
Then when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. And Elohim said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi (meaning “Not My People”), For you are not My people, And I will not be your Elohim.”
Yahweh said He would cut off the house of Israel from the land of Israel because of their disobedience, and sow then into the earth in a great seeding, just as the seed of Avraham was to be mixed in with the seed of all the families of the earth, so that those who would accept the Good Seed, Yeshua, could one day be brought back to the covenant, and to the land of Israel. And that is why Yahweh said that the number of the children of Israel would yet be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. d it would come to pass In the place in the land of Israel where it had been said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ that there it would be said to them, ‘you are [again] the sons of the living Elohim.’
And then once Armageddon was over, the children of Judah and the children of Israel would be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they would come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezre’el (or the great seeding)!”
This is the passage the Apostle Shaul (or Paul) refers to in Romans 9:24-25, when he tells the gentiles that they are not gentiles without a past, but that they are the lost ten tribes of Israel. This is why he says that it was not only the Jews who were called, but also the Gentile Ephraimites, As Yahweh says also in Hoshea: “I will call them My people (Ammi), who were not My people (Lo Ammi), And her beloved, who was not beloved (referring to Lo Ruhama). And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall (again) be called the sons of the living Elohim.”
But sadly, in the days of Hoshea, the Ephraimites didn’t turn back to Yahweh, and so ultimately, Yahweh sent the Assyrians to punish them, taking them into captivity in Assyria. 2 Kings 17:5 tells us how the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria (which was the capital of the northern kingdom), and besieged it for three years. And then in the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried the northern ten tribes of Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. And this was because the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their Elohim, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, and had walked in the ways of the nations whom Yahweh had cast out from before the children of Israel, and also the false statutes of the kings of Israel, which they had made for themselves.
Also the children of the northern ten tribes of Israel secretly did against Yahweh their Elohim things that were not right, and they built for themselves false places of worship in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom Yahweh had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke Yahweh to anger, for they served idols, of which Yahweh had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” Yet Yahweh testified against the house of Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the Torah of Moshe (Moses) which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.” Nevertheless the northern ten tribes of Israel (or Ephraim) would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who Scripture says did not believe in Yahweh their Elohim, because they did not obey Him. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them. They followed idols, became idolaters, and incorporated the pagan practices of the nations who were all around them, (just like the Christians would do later), concerning whom Yahweh had charged them that they should not do like them.
So they left all the commandments of Yahweh their Elohim, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal (which is an ancient Middle Eastern name meaning, “The Lord”).
But it was not only the ten northern tribes the Assyrians would take into captivity, because the Assyrians did not stop at the border. They did not care about the difference between the northern and southern kingdoms: they only wanted to expand their empire as much as possible. And that is why 2 Kings 18:13 tells us that in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of the southern kingdom of Judah, and took them as well. Because of this, representatives of all twelve tribes of Israel went into captivity in Assyria.
The Assyrian policy was to treat those who adopted the Assyrian culture well, and to punish those who did not. Because of this, the Ephraimites assimilated so well that they forgot all about Yahweh and His Torah. This took place in order to fulfill Hosea 8:8, which tells us that: “Israel is swallowed up; Now they are among the Gentiles Like a vessel in which is no pleasure.”
What does it mean that Israel was swallowed up? Consider that when we eat food, our bodies break it down and digest it completely. After a day or so, it is no longer possible to tell the difference between the food we ate yesterday, and us.
Our Jewish brethren watched all this from afar, and they recorded their impressions in an important historical document called the Talmud. Although the Talmud is not Scripture, and it is not inspired, it does record the thoughts and observations the most respected Jewish religious authorities of those times. And in Talmud Tractate Yebamot 17A, the Jewish Sages record that the Ephraimites that had been taken into captivity in Assyria began to father what they called “strange children.” They called them “strange” because they no longer kept the Torah, no longer spoke Hebrew, and no longer cared about Yahweh, or their inheritance in the land of Israel.
As the Talmud puts it, they had become “perfect heathens.” Let’s read it.
When I mentioned the matter in the presence of Samuel he said to me, [the Ephraimites] did not move from there until [the Jewish sages] had declared [the Ephraimites] to be perfect heathens; as it is said in the Scriptures, They have dealt treacherously against [Yahweh], for they have begotten strange children.
[Babylonian Talmud Tractate Yebamot 17A, Soncino]
Eventually the Assyrian Empire broke up. But since the sons of Ephraim had become “perfect heathens,” and “strange children”, they did not feel any desire to come back to the land of Israel, or the covenant. So, where did they go? We know that some individuals must have gone in all four directions, because the prophecy given to Israel was that every family would have at least some of Israel’s DNA. Yet there is another mystery here.
Bible scholars such as Raymond Capt, Steven Collins, Yair Davidiy, and others who have researched the archaeological and historical evidence surrounding the migrations of the tribes tell us that it takes eyes to see it, but as the Assyrian Empire fell, other empires arose in their place. With the rise and fall of empires, the societies that manifested the most Israelite traits migrated north and west by three separate migration routes. One route ran up the Iberian Peninsula, while another route went overland through Turkey, and a third went through the Caucasus mountains. These three separate migration routes ultimately converged in what later became Protestant northwestern Europe, and then after the Protestant Reformation, the Protestants spread their torahless variation of the faith to the rest of the world.
The fact that the tribes moved as prophetic bodies and ultimately settled in northwestern Europe accounts for the rise of Protestantism in that part of the world, and the many blessings of prosperity and happiness that come from studying and living Yahweh’s word. We give more details in Nazarene Israel, but right now we want to look at a very special prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 4, which governs the timing of Ephraim’s return.
In Ezekiel chapter 4, Yahweh prophesied through Ezekiel that if the Ephraimites did not turn back, they would be taken into captivity for 390 years. Yahweh told Ezekiel to lie on his left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that Ezekiel would lie on it, he would bear their iniquity, for Yahweh had laid on him the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days. It was three hundred and ninety days that he would bear the iniquity of the house of Israel, and in this prophecy, Yahweh was using the principle of a day for each year.
Since the Assyrian Dispersion began around 732 BCE, if we add 390 years to that we get 342 BCE. Only, the Ephraimites did not repent in 342 BCE. So then what happened?
In verses like Leviticus 26:18, Yahweh tells us that if we do not repent and start to obey Him, then He will punish us seven times more for our sins. And if we multiply the prophesied 390 years of punishment times seven, we get 2,730 years of punishment. And since the Assyrian dispersion began around 722 BCE, when we add 2730 years to that, we come up with an end date of about 1998 CE. Not coincidentally, 1998 is about when what is known as the Two-House movement began to grow (and Nazarene Israel is an outgrowth of that movement).
For another witness, Hoshea was one of the prophets sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, to get them to turn back to the Torah. In Hoshea chapter 5, Yahweh prophesied that He Himself would punish the northern kingdom, to get them to turn back. Then in Hosea 6:2, Yahweh prophesied that the northern kingdom would finally come back, and return to Yahweh. The Ephraimites would realize that it was Yahweh that had torn him, but that Yahweh would heal him, and that it was Yahweh that had stricken him, but that Yahweh would bind him up. And that after two prophetic days, Yahweh would revive the house of Ephraim, and on the third day, Yahweh would raise the Ephraimites up, and cause them to live in His sight.
Scholars dispute the exact date of the Messiah Yeshua’s birth, but most agree it was around 4 BCE. Two prophetic days, or two thousand years after 4 BCE brings us to about 1996 CE, which is about the same as Ezekiel’s prediction of 1998 CE (which again is about the time the Two-House movement began to get started).
Yet if two thousand years from the Messiah’s birth was a special date for the restoration of the house of Ephraim, then it only stands to reason that two thousand years from Yeshua’s ministry, burial, and resurrection will also be special dates. And if Yeshua was about thirty years old when He began His ministry, then that brings us to about 2026 CE, while two thousand years from his death, burial, and resurrection is about 2030 CE. What kind of restoration can we expect to see for the house of Ephraim on these prophetic dates? They are not far off.
And speaking of the house of Ephraim’s return, now let us try reading Yeshua’s Parable of the Prodigal Son with the understanding that the older son is Judah, while the younger son is Ephraim. Starting in Luke 15:11, Yeshua said, “A certain man (Yahweh) had two sons (Judah and Ephraim). And the younger of them (Ephraim) said to his father (Yahweh), ‘Father, give me the portion of goods (meaning the inheritance) that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood (as when the kingdom was divided in the days of King Jeroboam). And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country (in the Assyrian Dispersion), and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living (becoming a “perfect heathen”). But when he had spent all (meaning he had left the Torah completely, and become a “strange child”), there arose a severe famine (of spiritual food) in that land, and he began to be in want (because he was now worshiping idols among the pagans of the nations).
Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country (referring to the Roman Catholic Church), and he sent him into his fields to feed swine (referring to the idols of the Church). And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate (referring to the sacrifices), but no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself (in the Protestant Reformation), he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare (meaning they have true spiritual food), but I perish with (spiritual) hunger! I will arise and go to my Father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you (for departing from Your Torah), And I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”‘
“And he arose and came to his father (in the Protestant Reformation). But when he was still a great way off (meaning he was still only a Protestant Christian), his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. (And that is why the Protestant nations have historically been more blessed than the Catholics.)
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him (referring to Joseph’s coat), and put a ring on his hand (referring to Joseph’s signet ring), and sandals on his feet (because in ancient times, royalty and the wealthy wore shoes.)
And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son (Ephraim) was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
“Now his older son (Judah) was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother (Ephraim) has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
“But (Judah) was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Behold, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment (in the Torah) at any time; but yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came (notice he does not even call him his brother), who has devoured your livelihood with harlots (referring to the idols and demons in the Church system), you killed the fatted calf for him.’
“And he said to him, ‘(Judah my) Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother (Ephraim) was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'”
Most Christians read this and think, “Oh, what a nice story about a backslidden sinner.” And it is that, but they never stop to think about the greater historical context that Yeshua was referring to. Perhaps this is because most Christians do not get that the Renewed Covenant was not written in a historical vacuum, and it was not intended to be read in a historical vacuum. They do not realize that it was written by devout Jews, who wrote it for first and foremost for other devout Jews, and then also for Gentile Ephraimite converts to the faith. We need this historical context if we are to understand the true meaning and message of the book.
We also need this historical context to understand what Yeshua meant in Luke 4:18, when He came to Nazareth, where He has been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. When Yeshua said that He was sent to proclaim “liberty to the captives,” He was not saying that He and His followers were going to go and open all of the jail cells. Rather, what He was saying was that He came to begin a two thousand year long process of recovering those of the twelve tribes of Israel who had been taken into captivity in Assyria, and who had still not come back to the land of Israel, or back to the covenant, because they were still in spiritual captivity. The subject of the spiritual captivity is fairly complex, but what we will see in future teachings is that Yeshua came to begin a long process of setting the captives of all twelve tribes of Israel free, both of the house of Ephraim and the secret hidden house of Judah, so that one day they could come back to the land of Israel, and back to their inheritance in the Torah, and serve as functioning, contributing parts of the nation of Israel.
This is also why Yaakov (James) wrote his epistle to “the twelve tribes of Israel” who are scattered abroad.
Notice he does not write it to the Christians.
This is also why the Apostle Kepha (Peter) wrote His first epistle “to the pilgrims of the (Assyrian) Dispersion.” The term Dispersion is another name for the Diaspora, or “the Great Seeding (referring to Avraham’s seed).” He is literally writing to those whom the Assyrians took captive-the Ephraimites.
In 2 John 1, the elder (John) writes to the elect lady, who is Joseph’s mother Rachel, and her children, meaning Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh.
And then in verse 13, when he says, “The children of your elect sister greet you,” He is talking about Judah, who was the most prominent son of Israel’s other main wife, Leah.
So now we can understand why in Revelation chapter 7, it is not the Christians who are sealed from harm before the Great Tribulation, but the twelve tribes of Israel.
We can also understand why, in Revelation chapter 21, when the city Renewed Jerusalem comes down from heaven, there are no gates for Christians. Rather, there are only gates for the twelve tribes of Israel. So if we want to enter the Renewed Jerusalem, don’t we need to belong to one of the twelve tribes?
And now can we understand what the Messiah Yeshua meant in Matthew 15:24 when He said that He was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?
And there is so much more than this. Once our eyes are opened to the Two Houses of Israel, we will begin to understand the Scriptures with more clarity than we ever thought possible.
But there are dangers here also. It is very easy to do the wrong thing with new information, and most Two-House believers are doing the wrong thing with it. But our goal is to help you do the right thing, so you can get your best reward.
If you have a desire to understand this topic in detail, we encourage you to read the Nazarene Israel study. You can read it free on the website, or you can download a PDF copy for free. You can also purchase a paperback copy on Amazon.com, for the same price it costs us. If you read that study, you will know more about your Bible than literally 99% of the Christians and Jews worldwide.
But to help you understand the Messiah’s mission more clearly, in our next video we will give you an overview of the first century, because this will show us what the Messiah came to do much more clearly, as well as how we can please Him today.
Please join us for our next video.